From the SYKES EMEA Team
It’s not easy being Santa Claus, from having to make millions of toys from a Top-Secret bunker at the North Pole to delivering them to millions of children in one night.
But how has COVID-19 changed the dynamics of his role this Christmas? The good news is: not at all, because Santa fully intends to fulfil his responsibilities this December. He’s personally made that clear in a post on Elf on a Shelf’s Facebook page.
Santa, so he says, has been self-isolating, all his presents will be disinfected and “Christmas is not cancelled.”
Some world leaders have endorsed this approach. Earlier this year, Jacinda Ardern, the prime minister of New Zealand, announced that the Easter Bunny and Tooth Fairy were both essential workers.
More recently, Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has also designed Santa a key worker, although guest appearances at Christmas grottos may be curtailed.
“Santa will not be prevented from delivering your presents on Christmas Eve,” Sturgeon said. “Santa is a key worker and he has got lots of magic powers that make him safe to do that. Santa will be delivering presents across the world as normal.”
But for Santa, the logistics of Christmas are as formidable as ever. If all of them have been good, Santa has to deliver presents to almost 22 million children an hour on Christmas Eve. That’s about 365,000 deliveries a minute, or about 6,100 a second. Even the largest logistics companies would find that hard.
The better news is that Santa has 31 hours of Christmas to work with, thanks to different time zones and the rotation of the earth, assuming he travels east to west, and you can chart his progress via NORAD.
His tight schedule means that Santa must travel at about 3,000 times the speed of sound, although that is presumably within the capabilities of his magic reindeer.
While no known species of reindeer has been found to travel at such speeds (a conventional reindeer can run at 15 miles per hour), it’s estimated that there are some 300,000 species of living organisms yet to be classified, and flying reindeer must be one of them.
The mechanics of delivering so many presents does add particular problems. One estimate suggests that Santa’s sleigh has to carry some 321,300 tons.
A sleigh of that weight travelling at 650 miles per second creates enormous air resistance, heating up the reindeer in much the same way as a spaceship re-entering the Earth’s atmosphere.
The estimate is that the lead pair of reindeer will absorb 14.3 quintillion joules of energy per second. Santa would also be subjected to centrifugal forces about 17,500 times greater than gravity, pinning him to the back of his sleigh with 4,315,015 pounds of force.
He could, of course, adopt an alternative delivery strategy which, according to another report, would require some 400,000 trucks or 5,000 Boeing 757-200 aeroplanes. But those conventional transport options wouldn’t get the job done in one night.
As businesses everywhere will recognise, Christmas involves multiple complexities for Santa, from document handling to delivery schedules. Making sure that every child receives what they want is also a huge exercise in customer relations.
But, while Santa will rise to the challenge, as he does every year, maybe this year he deserves special thanks.
That’s certainly what a Scottish mother thinks. In a Facebook post that has gone viral, she suggests that “on Christmas Eve at 6pm we are asking everyone to come outside and ring a bell for two minutes to spread Christmas spirit and to help Santa fly that sleigh. End 2020 with a bit of magic, hope, and togetherness!”
After a tough year for all of us, it’s a sentiment we’re sure that Santa would appreciate as he zooms around the world.
From all of us, have a very happy and safe Christmas!